Thirty patients in Antrim Area Hospital have contracted the gastroenteritis vomiting and diarrhoea bug.
The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has declared an outbreak after patients were infected at five wards in the hospital.
Medical director Dr Peter Flanagan described this as a precautionary measure and said that the trust has put in place measures to control the outbreak.
“We have experienced a sharp rise in gastroenteritis in the past few days and as a precautionary measure have declared an outbreak,” Dr Flanagan said.
“We have put in place stringent measures to contain the infection; we are isolating and cohorting patients with the condition and we have doubled daily ward cleaning regimes. “We are also reiterating good hand hygiene practice to staff and issuing infection control guidance,” he explained.
In light of the outbreak, the trust is asking people not to visit the hospital if they feel unwell or have recently had diarrhoea. Visitors are also asked not to bring children under the age of 12.
People are also being advised to wash their hands when entering and leaving wards, not to bring food or flowers into the hospital and not to sit on any of the patient beds.
Dr Flanagan said that staff at Antrim Area Hospital are working hard to cope with the challenges the outbreak has brought, and that it was putting the emergency department under pressure.
“We are working hard to get people admitted; however, this is more challenging in the current circumstances,” he added.
Only last month the Northern Trust had to deal with the outbreak of the blood infection listeria in two of its hospitals.
The Trust identified three patients with a bloodstream infection due to the listeria bacterium, an uncommon infection in a hospital setting, as it is usually food borne.
It transpired that an elderly patient at Antrim Area, who died following the outbreak, had contracted listeria. It was said to have contributed to the patient’s death but was not the cause.